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I Belong

Early Review: Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith

Title: Wild Awake

Author: Hilary T. Smith

Genre: YA Contemporary

Series: N/A

Publication DateMay 28, 2013

Format: Hardcover, 400 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062184687 (Harper Teen)

ISBN-13 9780062184689 (Harper Teen)

Reviewed byBridget


Things you earnestly believe will happen while your parents are away:

1. You will remember to water the azaleas.
2. You will take detailed, accurate messages.
3. You will call your older brother, Denny, if even the slightest thing goes wrong.
4. You and your best friend/bandmate Lukas will win Battle of the Bands.
5. Amid the thrill of victory, Lukas will finally realize you are the girl of his dreams.

Things that actually happen:

1. A stranger calls who says he knew your sister.
2. He says he has her stuff.
3. What stuff? Her stuff.
4. You tell him your parents won’t be able to—
5. Sukey died five years ago; can’t he—
6. You pick up a pen.
7. You scribble down the address.
8. You get on your bike and go.
9. Things . . . get a little crazy after that.*
*also, you fall in love, but not with Lukas.

Both exhilarating and wrenching, Hilary T. Smith’s debut novel captures the messy glory of being alive, as seventeen-year-old Kiri Byrd discovers love, loss, chaos, and murder woven into a summer of music, madness, piercing heartbreak, and intoxicating joy.

Quick & Dirty: This was an interesting book that covered some very serious issues, but I found it to be a little bit weird and disturbing.

Opening Sentence It’s the first day of summer, and I know three things: One, I’m happy.

Excerpt: No

The Review

Kiri Byrd has a bright future ahead of her.  She is an amazing piano player and hopes to one day go to Julliard or another big art school.  She is also in a band with her bestie Lukas, and they are getting ready to perform at a big competition.  She has always had a crush on Lukas and she is hoping that this summer things will finally go beyond friendship with him.  Her parents just recently left for a 6 week long cruise to celebrate their wedding anniversary.  Kiri will be staying by herself during this time getting ready for a huge piano recital and the battle of the bands.  Shortly after her parents leave she gets a disturbing phone call from a stranger stating he has some of her sister’s things.  Kiri’s sister Sukey was killed in a car accident 5 years ago — at least that is what Kiri has always believed.  Kiri decides to go and meet this man and get Sukey’s things back, but she discovers a lot more about her sister than she knew.

It turns out Sukey was murdered all those years ago, and the place she lived in was a hole in the wall.  Kiri always believed that Sukey was an artist and that she lived a very glamorous life, but in all actuality her sister was a drug addict that was messed up with a lot of bad people.  As Kiri tries to deal with this new information about the sister she adored, and all the things that are going on in her life she starts to go a little crazy.  She stops sleeping and starts to do drugs.  She also meets a new boy that has some serious paranoia problems.  She doesn’t really know what’s important in her life anymore and she risks everything she has ever worked for in the process.  She doesn’t know if she can ever go back to normal or what normal even is anymore.

So Kiri is our heroine in this book and I had a really hard time understanding her.  She is very passionate about music and she uses that to escape her problems instead of facing them.  She seems to do really stupid things and I felt that her consequences were slightly unreal.  She reacts very emotionally to things and doesn’t really think about what her actions will do to herself or anyone else.  The way that she dealt with her life was very stupid and naive of her.  Instead of turning to people who care about her she turns to a boy she hardly knows and music. I had a really hard time connecting to her and understanding anything she did.

This book was a weird read for me.  It actually did keep me interested, but by the end I just felt that everything was left unresolved.  The topics addressed in this book were very different from anything else I have ever read and I found them interesting yet disturbing at times.  Overall, I can’t honestly say I really enjoyed this book.  Maybe if it had ended differently I would have liked it better, I’m not really sure.  The writing was well done, I just couldn’t really connect to the story or the characters at all.  If you think the story sounds interesting go ahead and give it a try.  You might have a very different opinion than I did.

Notable Scene:

“Doug? Why did you say there were cops?”

He’s produced another beer from some hiding spot, and now he cracks it open.  His bloodshot eyes are wandering.

“Goddamn management didn’t hardly wait twenty-four hours before they stuck the next person in there.  They got this rat-faced tweaker moved in before the blood was even dry on the floor.  There’s no respect around here.  None at all.”

I wheel around to see Doug better and knock over a half-full can of beer that was perched on top of an unplugged mini-fridge.  I really wish there was a light in here, because I’m starting to feel claustrophobic in the dimness with a giant trash bag pressing on my back and my ears buzzing louder and louder with every word Doug says.

“Doug,” I say in my steadiest, untrembliest voice, ”what are you talking about?”

Doug reaches out to stabilize the bag before it slips out of my hands.  He holds on while I get a better grip.  While I’m trying to find the right place to rest the weight of the bag on my shoulder, he leans his face in close to mine and fixes me with his big drunk eyes.

“Oh honey,” he says. “Don’t tell me you don’t know.”

FTC Advisory: Katherine Tegen Books/Harper Collins provided me with a copy of Wild Awake. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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